As I was finalizing my watch list for Fall 2018 and, by extension, the Episode Review lineup, I found myself going back and forth about what to do with SSSS.Gridman. Part of that is simply me trying to settle on a manageable number of shows to cover that I can balance with work and regain some time for other projects pertaining to my blog. The bigger reason though is that I am still skeptical of the fact that this is Trigger at the helm. After the studio’s previous mech anime that shall not be named, it’s hard not to shrug off the possibility that Gridman may still jump the shark at any point. And Lord knows I’m not in the mood to accidentally commit into covering a trainwreck as bad as that one. I can’t go back, guys. I CAN’T GO BACK!
And yet, here I am with another write-up for Gridman because damn it, this show keeps luring me into a sense of narrative security. This episode is very, very good and so surprisingly eventful that as a blogger, I’d have a hard time trying to gleam over it. It’s almost the exact opposite situation as last week’s episode. I enjoyed Episode 5 but it was also very breezy, hence why I opted to put in a Lightning Round for the sake of time. This episode has the characters on different paths, methodically going through each of them in sufficient detail, all while making progress for the main plot. Simply put, I’m impressed.
There’s a bit of a dichotomy between the recent events pertaining to Akane and Yuuta. Akane now firmly suspects Yuuta of his Gridman affiliation. Yuuta starts to suspect Akane of her Kaiju affiliation. But whereas Akane fails to get more info on her presumed enemy, Yuuta gets complete confirmation of her villainy.
Admittedly, how Yuuta finds out the truth is really weird. Just out of nowhere, a friendly kaiju under the guise of a little girl named Anoshiras pays him a visit and sheds some light on Akane’s involvement in the kaiju attacks. I am aware that the name is reference to a supportive character from the original Gridman series but with or without that detail in mind, this girl’s appearance is awfully convenient for the plot. I suppose you also don’t learn anything mind blowing either. The world Yuuta and his friends live in is revealed to be some kind of digital simulation but that theory was floating around for weeks now and it was easily the most plausible explanation behind why the world resets after a kaiju attack. The last episode showing the nature reserve getting destroyed at the end of the day was also telling.
In spite of those nitpicks, this development is still very entertaining. The sudden introduction of Anoshiras doesn’t feel terribly contrived as she makes quite the impression as a character. Just the shot where she enlarges herself right in front of Yuuta, her face drawn in a sort of fish eyed lens, all while still asking him to hang out with her on a date conveys a lot. She seems friendly yet still very mysterious and even kind of ominous. Although Anoshiras appears to dump a lot of info at Yuuta, the show’s methodical pacing thankfully kicks in, allowing for everything to be unveiled at a natural rate. It also helps that Trigger gets a little playful with the direction of this scene. Using a rendition of the original Gridman theme song is a nice Easter Egg. The low polygon CGI sequence where Akane appears as a player character in some god game very humorously reflects the state of the world and how that villain treats everything in it. With so much personality, I can let the amount of info dumping slide and even enjoy it.
Moving over to Akane, I must say that her plans this episode are really clever. She tasks Anti to kill Yuuta by convincing him of his Gridman affiliation all while appealing Shou’s crush on her to get some dirt. Self-contained, they’re both solid plans conceptually but having them executed in unison is smart since if one plan fails, Akane could at least get something out of the other. A shame then that both of her plans fail.
For a while, Anti ends up in the care of Rikka, the latter providing food and (apparently) a much needed bath. With Rikka’s acts of kindness becoming a recurring thing, surely some sort of payoff will happen in the near future. Even though Anti does find Yuuta, he ultimately gets dissuaded of the latter’s connection to Gridman, ultimately earning him yet another smartphone to the face (how has that device not break yet?). Meanwhile, Shou ends up not ratting Yuuta out, both out of loyalty for his friend but also because he wants to protect Akane from danger. I feel bad for the guy. Him and Akane conversing over their shared love for kaiju is so charming but knowing the latter, she’s clearly trying to use him to get to Yuuta. And when he does act all noble, it’s sadly a misguided effort.
What really shocks me about this episode is that Gridman actually doesn’t offer a kaiju fight of the week and gets away with it. On one hand, I demand to have my weekly dose of tokusatsu action goodness but on the other, the story progressed in such impressive fashion that I can let it slide. You do get some action at the end though as Anti tries to attack Yuuta only for Max and Caliber (who, along with Borr and Vit were keeping an eye on their human friends). I’ll admit, this fight did still satiate my thirst for action with seeing all three fighters use their weapons in their humanoid forms. And of course, Trigger still delivers solid animation to go along with it. I actually wouldn’t mind seeing more civilian fights if they’ll be along these lines.
I’ve been really enjoying SSSS.Gridman. That much I can admit (for now). But it’s episodes such as these that really make blogging so appealing and fun. I could very well regret this decision if this show jumps the shark like Trigger’s last mech show that shall not be named but screw it, I’ll keep the Gridman coverage going.
Thanks for reading!
For all of my SSSS.Gridman Episode Reviews, check out the show’s archive page!
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